Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Some (most) of you probably didn't know this but we took a trip to Chiago to go see Derek's mom and step dad. They live about an hour north of Chicago in McHenry which is about 15 min away from the Wisconsin border. We had such a great time while we were there but it was nice coming home yesterday to a clean house (thank you mom!)
I didn't take a whole lot of pictures but here are some good ones that I got. I have now started saving for a new camera after I took a good look at these. SO...come October I will have MUCH better pictures!

If any of these pictures are too small to see please click on them to enlarge. 

This picture was for my mom sides of the family. Their last name is McLean. I thought it was pretty neat so I took a picture of the sign for them.
 It's hard to read on this sign but it says "Paw Paw." The story behind this is that I was sending my FIL Dale and MIL Lisa text messages saying that Stratton says "Hi Paw Paw!" with pictures on the road. I kept asking Derek if you spelled it Pa pa or Paw Paw. I of course spelled it Paw Paw and Derek made fun of me for it. Not 10 seconds later we passed this sign and I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I saw it.
 Stratton was such a happy boy in the car. We had spongebob, cars, and "Cheese" aka Ratatouille.
 Of course there was lots of snuggling with Minnie (Stratton's girlfriend)
 There are a lot of water towers up in northern Illinois and this one was for where we stayed. It says McHenry on the side of it. Every water tower we saw Stratton would say "mom! Like a sucker!" Meaning, it looked like a sucker. 
 If you notice, this is a fine example of the "mullet." This was by far one of the best I have ever seen.
 Shopping at Aurora Outlet Mall was so much fun. We got some really great stuff and Stratton got to take a well deserved nap.
  I got a new watch! I've wanted a gold watch for a while but I wasn't sure I could pull off a solid gold watch so I got this one instead that is mostly dark gray with gold in it.
 Stratton loved Brenda's bathtub. He called it going swimming because it was so deep. He made the side of it a slide.
 We also went to Gurney and went shopping there as well. We just saw Cars 2 last week so this Hudson Hornet was just for Stratton when we walked in the door. He thought it was SO cool.
  Stratton got to do a build a bear too. This girl was super nice and helped Stratton make his bear "big"
 Stratton was too scared to do the pedal so Brenda pushed it for him while he pushed buttons.  
 After he was stuffed she stitched him up. We even got to put a heart in him.
 Stratton loved the light buttons. Each one meant something different. I think red was love.
  Finally he got to squeeze his bear to make sure it was stuffed enough.
 He loved it and wound up naming him Patches.
 He was so happy when he got Patches. He just kept kissing on him and snuggling with him.
 There was even little bear furniture that he played with.
 Derek and I went in to Bass Pro and Stratton got an ice cream cone. He was loving it!
 All smiles with his NEW Minnie. She's pink!
 Stratton's First Train Ride!
 Stratton, Grandpa Jim and Grandma Brenda waiting to get on the train.
 Derek and I on the train. The windows were tinted blue so everything looked a little green.
 Strattton was so excited to give the conductor his ticked. He has seriously been talking about riding the train since April.
 The tickets were so neat since it was the 4th of July weekend.
 Stratton loved his ticket. It was like a little treasure to him.
  The train tracks outside the train window. Again tinted a little green because of the windows.
 Stratton had so much fun riding on the train. He kept telling everyone around him that he was riding a train.
 This is Union Station. Derek and Jim kept talking about a movie that was filmed here but I don't remember which one it was. I'm pretty sure it was The Untouchables but I could be wrong. I'll check on that.
 This was apparently on of the stairs where it was filmed.  I didn't notice until just now that it looks like that man is dropping his camera.
 ...or maybe this one.
 Downtown Chicago right outside Union Station
 This was one of the first streets we saw when we got there. Coincidentally, we live on W. Jackson Blvd as well. I thought that was pretty neat. 
 I couldn't believe how tall the buildings were.
 Stratton also got to ride on a bus for the first time. He was pretty excited about this one too.  
 He even held onto the pole like a big boy.
 Finally...Navy Pier!
  The view here was beautiful. The water looked so good. I wish we could have gone out on a boat.
 More tall buildings.
 The Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. Jim and Brenda got to ride but we didn't get to. Stratton had a minor melt down because he got hot and tired so we watched while Jim and Brenda rode on it. 
 We also played 18 rounds of putt putt. Stratton had such a great time playing. He wasn't that bad either. Grandpa Dale, Uncle Garrett, and Grandma Mona would be proud.
 He kept saying "I whack it SO hard!"
 Derek putt putting.
 Lovely follow through.
 I have horrible form...but I don't play so I think I'll be ok.
 Stratton slept for 2 1/2 hours while we were there. Of course with Minnie right by his side the entire time.
 This was Stratton's first Taxi ride. It was like riding in the bus from Harry Potter. Our driver was CRAZY!
This was also downtown Chicago. There was an orchestra playing. My two favorite things. Really good sculptures and orchestra music. I was in heaven. 
 Isn't this an awesome concert hall?!
 More big buildings.
 The big reflective bean. This was one of the only things I wanted to see while we were there. It was SO cool!
 Stratton couldn't take his eyes off of it. He thought it was SO cool!
 Family picture time. Don't mind the weirdo in the background.
I love this picture.
 This was looking up at the bean from the bottom of it. It's kind of weird because you can't really tell how high the ceiling is.

 Me and Derek standing in front of the bean.
 These two little kids were so cute. They were just laying under it talking to each other. Too cute.
 Stratton loved touching it. It was SO shiny
 I really like this picture.
 Derek and I in front of the bean. It's kind of weird how the bean gave the sky a weird gray color. It dulled everything down a little bit.
 This was the weather for the week. It was SO nice not having any humidity.
We had a kind size bed to sleep in because we thought that Stratton was going to sleep with us but instead he slept in the crib. Here he kept wanting me to take a picture of his Minnie.
 We got him a paint book at Barnes and Noble that he loved.On the 4th we stayed in and spent some well deserved down time with Brenda and Jim.
  I thought it was so cute the way he sticks out his tongue to paint. 
 So professional.
 I think he is going to take after me and be and artist.
 More sticking out the tongue.
 Look at that sweet little face.
 He gets so serious when he is painting.
 He found a "map" to play with in the backyard at Brenda and Jim's
 He was hiding in the flowers.
I made two strawberry pies. They are by far the best I have made yet.  
 Even though fireworks are illegal where we were there were still people a few blocks over having a really great firework show for us. Stratton would say "ooooo aaahhhh" 
 We went to bed pretty late and woke up pretty early. This is how I found Stratton the morning we left. He is so sweet.
 I love the way he sleeps sometimes. He just looks so peaceful.
 There were a BUNCH of windmills on the way home that we saw. I thought they were really neat.
 Once we got home Groucho would not leave us alone. He was definitely glad that we were home. I took a nap with Groucho.

 Alex and Lauren came over to hang out with us yesterday too. Groucho wouldn't leave them alone either.
 Groucho was sleeping on Lauren's head.
 He loves Lauren.

We had such an amazing time and I'm glad we got to spend some quality time with Derek's mom and step dad. Thank you so much Brenda and Jim for the wonderful long weekend. We can't wait to see you again.I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July.


Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time. Pictures were great and showed all that you did. The train ride looked like fun.

Grandma Marge

Les said...

Looks like you had a blast! I'm so happy you guys had a chance to get away for a little family time.

Karen said...

sweet! I've never been to Chicago, but would like to go with my little guy. P.S. We do Popa or Papa... whichever Vin writes. lol. And of course Memaw. By that logic I guess it should be Papaw? Who knows... It's a made up word. ;)